Harvey Guillén is having quite the year, and we are LivingIt is possible.
The queer actor has long been the beating heart (literally) of FX’s hit vampire comedy, What We Do In the Shadows. Guillermo is his character. “familiar” to a group of blood-suckers—but he not-so-secretly wants to be a vampire himself.
And while that dream has yet to come true, Guillermo did take one major step toward living the life of his dreams in the show’s most recent season: He came out as gay! It was a surprising and welcome development for the series that Guillén has called both “therapeutic and nostalgic.”
But it’s not just What We Do In the Shadows that we love Guillén in—this guy Books! In this year alone, he’s shown up on Amazon’s ReacherVoicework done and mastered Human Resources, The Last Wish: Puss in Boots, and Harley Quinn (who happens to be Nightwing) as hero He jokes that he was “type-cast” inBecause of his bubblebutt
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And, as of this weekend, he can be seen in Comedy Central’s hilarious new horror movie Cursed FriendsNicole Byer, Nicole Richie, as well as other gay icons like Kathy Griffin. Aside from the chance to work with such an amazing cast, Guillén shares he was thrilled for the opportunity to play a queer character who is “carefree and living his best life.” Well, except for the fact that he’s been cursed by a childhood game of M.A.S.H…
The arrival Cursed Friends It was the perfect occasion Queerty to catch up with Guillén and have him as a guest in our rapid-fire Q&A series, Dishin’ It. Guillen discusses everything, from gay stereotypes to his rom-com BFF to the musician who helped him discover his queerness as a teenager.
What’s the gayest thing about you?
It all depends on who you ask. [Laughs.] But I do take pride in—and I know this is such a stereotype, but—loving fashion. And if that’s a stereotype people want to pin on me, I will gladly accept it! Another stereotype I like hearing is that gay people love musical theatre. I love it. I love musical theatre. I am proud to be a musical theatre fashionista.
What’s your favorite Halloween costume you’ve ever worn and why?
So, there are a couple of costumes that I’ve done that I’ve really enjoyed. There are two. I convinced my friends to do them both. Charlie Brown was one. Peanuts gang, where Charlie Brown was Charlie Brown and then we had every man’s character from [the comics].
We also cast the movie’s other gender-benders as the second one. Hairspray. These photos were taken in Tracy Turnblad. Photos are available online. It was Halloweenie, still the largest queer Halloween party here in L.A. Halloweenie is still the largest queer Halloween party in L.A. so we walked on the red carpet. My friend Jason was Edna, I was Tracy—in, like, full costume, down to the plaid skirt, the white shirt with a little bow in the front, and the big bouffant hair with the little blue bow in the middle. And we were very much in character—lucky enough that it was a group of actors, so everyone understood the assignment.
Is there a piece of pop-culture—whether a movie, TV series, book, album, etc…—that you consider a big part of your coming-out journey? What makes it special?
One memory that sticks out is Tyler and me taking summer courses. Tyler and I would listen to Britney Stones in our car as we drove home from school every morning. And then we’d not talk about the CD the whole day until we got BackIn the car [Laughs.]
This was what it meant for us. “Oh yeah, we’re queer!”Like, this is your anthem. LovedIt was only in the safety net of the car. We loved her so deeply that we spoke about her every day. We then headed off to school. [neither of us]It was never mentioned. But then we’d go back in the car and it was our guilty pleasure.
We were still finding our queerness, and being open about who were we. That was something that I vividly remember. It was the Summer Of Britney!
In Cursed FriendsYour character is haunted by a childhood M.A.S.H. game. Is there a fashion trend, style or something similar that haunts your childhood?
I was trying find out if similar games existed that I played as an infant and that traumatized the brain. [Laughs.] But, honestly, I’m still traumatized by the choices I made playing Pogs! I can still recall how I lost everything! Power Rangers Pogs and, to this day, it haunts me that I don’t where those Pogs are now, I don’t know who has them, but—where you are—I’ll find you! [Laughs.]
Who is a queer or trans artist/performer/creator that you think is doing really cool work right now? Why is this important?
You know, it’s so funny to think that, a couple years ago, that list might have been very narrow, very small. And the fact that I have to think about this question for a second—because I’m in awe of so many queer artists in the entertainment industry—it’s amazing!
I mean, Billy Eichner does a great job of putting queer characters in the big romcom he just released. Everyone should see it and show their support Bros and a creator like that, because he’s amplifying our voices. Just go see it—if you have questions about it or anything, you can talk about it later, but just go see it first.We have to watch it now, we have to amplify these voices and make sure the message is clear that people want to watch stories like this.
And then there’s Lil Nas X, who is always pushing the envelope, speaking his mind, and I admire and respect that. These aren’t artists that are doing it to get accolades, but they’re doing it to tell stories, to send a message. And, in return, they’re changing history.
What We Do In The Shadows’ Guillermo—who is one of our favorite gay characters on TV right now—has long wanted to be a vampire. In your opinion, what’s the biggest benefit to being a vampire?
Oh, I think the the flying—who doesn’t want to fly? People have spent their entire lives trying learn to fly. It is evident by the planes and hot-air balloons that we have. But wouldn’t it just be cool for you, yourself, to fly? Your body will lift off the ground and levitate. I think that’s the most appealing. I’m not so big on the blood-drinking. [Laughs.] Same with immortality—I mean, watching all your loved ones die? Yes, flying is a passion of mine.
What would you say is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen? It is so scary.
When I was a small girl, the most terrifying movie I saw was Chucky. And I should not have seen it then—it was at my cousin’s house—and I was probably around five! My cousins were older, and looked like. “We’re going to watch Chucky! You can’t watch it, it’s too scary and you’re a little kid.”I was like “I’m not a little kid, it’s not too scary.”I lied, saying that I had seen it before. So I watched with them. I was traumatized.
I was having nightmares for several days. I believed that all the dolls in my room were Chucky. And my mom didn’t understand, but I couldn’t tell her that I saw the movie or I’d get in trouble! She was like “What is wrong with you? Why are you so jumpy?” Poor Mom. I was so scared. My mom learned the truth and told us. It was so scary for me.
Recently, a tweet went viralThose are my thoughts. “Let Harvey Guillén be the lead in a queer rom com.” One of the most important part of any rom-com are the BFF characters, so—with that in mind—who would you cast to play yours and why?
Well, you know, there’s a giant list of people who’d fit that role really perfectly. To bring it back Cursed Friends, I just love Nicole Byer. Nicole and me get along so well. She’s a great person to be around. I could go off book with her forever—which we did on set, and got in trouble. [Laughs.] But I’m happy to report they used like 50% of that stuff, so we just let the camera roll.
And, in the rom-com, she’d be the person that tells me, like “Come on, do it! Go for it!”We all need a buzz-man, a buzz-woman, or a buzz-person in our lives. Nicole is my favorite person to do that.